Apple in Your Eye
Though lower Manhattan is still shrouded in darkness, some local businesses have stayed open, serving whatever’s left in the kitchen by candlelight. But restaurants and bars aren’t the only ones working to return some sense of normalcy to neighborhoods ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. Tekserve, the retail and service store for Apple products in the Flatiron, has remained open throughout the blackout, its customers illuminated only by flashlights.
After the Storm
Right now, it’s like the literal dark ages downtown. No power, no internet, patches (at best) of cell phone service. People are chronicling the scene in video, narrative and photo form. But if you want to see a really stark visualization, check out this screenshot of Foursquare Explore’s trending locations, tweeted earlier by Peter Wu. His comment: “A tale of two cities.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it became clear that the MTA’s worst fears were realized: not only were many of the subway tunnels flooded, but they’d become inundated with salt and brackish water scooped up in the storm surge and funneled into the subway system.
The MTA has gotten parts of the system in Manhattan and Queens up and running, but pumping water out of stations dotted around Brooklyn along the East River will take some time. Seven subway tunnels beneath the East River have flooded, leaving switches and signals “likely damaged.” MTA chairman Joseph J. Lhota said in an earlier press conference that the subway system “has never faced a disaster as devastating as what we experienced last night.”
NYC Minus MTA
Though the MTA has begun limited subway service in parts of Manhattan and Queens, commuters hoping to get from Brooklyn to Midtown are stuck riding shuttles running from downtown Brooklyn to 53rd and Lex. If you were hoping to saunter over to the Barclay’s Center and leisurely hop onto one of these buses, please think again.
Ride or Die
With most subway lines suspended or running on limited service, getting around New York has been nothing short of nightmarish. Yesterday, amid cries of price gouging, San Francisco-based Uber (which allows users to hail a black car from their phone) decided to postpone “surge pricing” in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The company decided to turn off surge pricing for customers, but to still pay drivers surge pricing in order to incentivize them to get out there and provide rides to stranded New Yorkers.
Now, in an email sent out to Uber NYC users, the company claims that just one day of this pricing structure has resulted in a $100,000 loss to the company, “something we can’t continue indefinitely without breaking the bank.”
According to Crunchbase, the company has raised $49.5 million in venture funding.
Google’s Crisis Response Map for Hurricane Sandy, which has been updated systematically with information about power outages, traffic advisories and emergency shelters in the wake of the storm, has now published satellite imagery illustrating the magnitude of devastation Sandy wrought on coastal communities in New Jersey and Maryland.
Much of Silicon Alley is still without power, and so New York’s startup workers remain scattered across the city. But time and the tide of the internet wait for no man, and so many are currently working remotely–from their apartments, friends’ couches, coworking spaces, accommodating coffee shops, even bar stools.
One of the companies affected is curation engine Percolate, based in Soho. In a charming show of solidarity, each of the displaced employees has taken a picture of his temporary workspace, and they’ve all been posted on Percolate’s Tumblr.
(By the way, if that baby is seeking employment, Betabeat might be willing to look at an adorable résumé. It’s never too soon to start planning our next Poachables!)
Call Me Maybe
Late Monday night, you probably saw friends south of Flatiron fall off the grid and not resurface until answering your panicked text messages Tuesday morning from somewhere uptown.
That’s because, thanks to Sandy, cell service downtown is–not to put too fine a point on it–totally fucked. You might be getting patches of service, but it’s likely an exercise in massive frustration. Don’t hold your breath on it getting fixed right away, either, says the FCC.
Many businesses and organizations in New York are suffering without electricity following yesterday’s devastating hit from Hurricane Sandy. With electrical and tech equipment down across the city, there’s a need for capable engineers to help get New Yorkers back to being plugged in. Today, the New York Tech Meetup and New Work City published a sign-up form for volunteers hoping to use their tech skills to help out a neighbor.
“NY Tech Meetup and New Work City are organizing volunteers with technology skills to help New York-area businesses and organizations get their technology back up and running after Hurricane Sandy,” reads the signup form. The team is currently organizing a database of willing volunteers and then will decide from there how to allocate help.
As New York awakens to the structural devastation wrought by the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, many–especially in lower Manhattan–are waking to power and Internet outages. Some cell phone carriers also appear to be experiencing issues, making it difficult to place phone calls or send text messages.